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Outlets which sell paddleboards have reported record sales during the lockdown as more people take up the sport during which it is easy to do while social distance.
Board company, Red Paddle, which sells boards across the South East and globally said its sales figures have doubled recently.
The firm's CEO attributes the newfound popularity to the hot weather and the fact that participants do not need a lot of equipment to take part.
Participation in paddle boarding has been rapidly growing over the past few years but with incredibly hot weather, gyms still closed, lockdown lifting but with social distance still required, paddle boarding has just taken off. People are realising it’s a superb way to be active, meet friends, explore what’s around them, connect with nature and keep fit; all at their own pace.
Furthermore, with most paddle boards on the market being inflatable, the sport has become incredibly accessible for all ages and for all abilities... Paddle boarding has a relatively low entry point in terms of cost, especially if you hire the kit and there's only a very small learning curve.
Sarah Thornely from Hampshire started standup paddleboarding (also known as SUP) in her fifties - and has been doing the sport for eight years. She has also taken part in the GBSUP race series, and won the SUP National Championships before she retired.
While she welcomes more people taking up the sport, Sarah is encouraging people to do their research before heading out on the water. She says it is important to stay safe, and advises paddleboarders to make sure they wear a leash.
Go and have a lesson. You’ll learn technique which will save your body. It will protect your body. You’ll learn all about the dangers, be it on a river or the sea. I didn’t know anything about the ocean before I paddleboarded I didn’t have nay experience of the sea, so I’ve had to learn a lot about the tides, the offshore winds. But yes, get out there, and get involved and have fun, but be safe.
There has been a surge in bookings for lessons at the Lagoon watersports facility in Hove since lockdown restrictions have eased. Trainers at the site teach beginners and improvers as well as people who want to take part in races.
It’s a really lovely sport to learn. You can get quite good quite quickly. Which I think is attractive for people. You see some beautiful things out on the sea and in the rivers. It’s pretty special being out on the water.
With fewer lifeguards on our beaches this summer, the RNLI have urged people to be careful when heading out on the water.
The RNLI has published safety tips for paddleboarders including not to go alone, or if going alone to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back; wearing a personal flotation device; checking the weather forecast and tide times; using a leash; getting some training and dressing appropriately for the time of year.